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Bus problems, again

From Ben Plumpton

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

As bus users will know, the problems with the Hebden Bridgers still haven't gone away. I was waiting in the rain for 40 mins this morning when the B bus didn't turn up. My feet are still wet 6 hours later. Sigh. It's hard to get up the energy to keep on complaining since we never seem to get anywhere.

Anyway, I thought readers of this forum might like to know that there is a Calder Ward forum meeting on Tuesday 4th December at 6:45 in the Town Hall, which includes an item "Upper Valley Bus Services — report back". I do hope that Metro/First will be there. Maybe they might even be able to tell us when they'll have finished repairing the buses (how much longer can it possibly take??) and when we will get a proper timetable again.

Hope to see people there!


From Jenny B

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Yes, sadly and worryingly, in that this seems to coincide with the onset of winter, we are once again being short changed with our bus services.
The A & B services are missing regularly, yesterday the 3.00pm missed leaving several elderly passengers waiting 40 minutes in the cold.

The buses have not been repaired, the old bridger buses have not come back into service and the bulky white ones are becoming unreliable.

Promises were made and forgotten, timetables were adjusted but not met.

Sort it out Metro.....please?

From Sarah H

Friday, 23 November 2012

Yes the reliability of the E has declined in the last two weeks too. The 8:37 from Heptonstall to Hebden Bridge failed to show twice last week (Mon/Wed) and the 18:08 E from the station to Heptonstall was also a no show last Friday. I can no longer rely on them to get me to and from work which is a real problem. Please do sort this out Metro/First.

From Viv Boardman

Monday, 26 November 2012

I used to be able to get the bus straight up the hill to Dodnaze (less than 5 minutes) but now have to get the one that goes to Old Town first (about 20 mins). This also means I can no longer get a bus from Dodnaze to Old Town. Hopefully it will be sorted out on the 4th Dec meeting. The A and B is a good service when it's operated properly.

From Myra James

Monday, 26 November 2012

I understand that Dave Pearson of Metro has met ward and parish councillors today to discuss proposed changes to the services ahead of wider consultation.

From Ben Plumpton

Friday, 30 November 2012

Has he indeed Myra? Call me cynical, but somehow I don't expect the proposed "changes to the service" to be improvements... I've had numerous conversations over the last few months with passengers who have simply stopped trying to use the A and B services because they are so fed up of buses still not turning up, no proper timetable so you don't know for sure when a bus is supposed to arrive etc. People walk (for miles uphill on unsafe roads), or get family to drive them up and down (not very green), or share taxis.

Personally I've mostly switched to using the 500 service, which runs between Hebden and Keighley via Pecket Well, and is wonderfully reliable, though it doesn't run in the evenings. This has meant changing my working hours a bit, and I'm lucky that's been possible. The situation is much harder on other people though, eg Dodd Naze passengers who have no alternative service.

I half believe that Metro are doing this deliberately, so that they can say hardly anyone is using the A/B service, then they can reduce it, which will of course mean that it's very little used, so the spiral continues and in the end they can cut it altogether.

Please bus users come to the ward forum on Tuesday and let Metro (and our councillors) know how we feel!

From Myra James

Friday, 30 November 2012

Ben, I'm inclined to agree that the "changes to services" will acknowledge that the current timetable can't be supported. We (or rather you - I'm in the happy position of not having to rely on these services, living on a main road route) have waited a long time for the review of services promised at the meeting in the Town Hall in July. My note was purely for information - that review is, it would seem, underway and there should be more news soon. But I fear it might not be all that good. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend the Ward Forum on Tuesday as the planning meeting on the Mytholm Works application, in which I'm closely involved, has been annoyingly scheduled to clash with it. I look forward to hearing about discussions at the ward forum.

From J L Hobday

Friday, 7 December 2012

Living in a valley area by definition means that there are surrounding hillsides. In the Upper Calder Valley there are many many communities living up from the valley floor and it is crucial that these people have a comprehensive and reliable bus service.

Residents, businesses, churchgoers, schools etc not only want a decent bus service - they need one!

The Cragg Vale Bus Service must not be cut, reduced, curtailed. Access and egress from this area by bus is essential to support families and businesses in the locality.

From Paul Rigg

Friday, 7 December 2012

I've not seem any comments on here about the proposals but here's my pennies worth.

In would assume that the hours given are not the actual departure times but merely the hours of operation. Making the A B and E leave on the hour would miss the train from Leeds at night, when the service is hourly.

i cannot see what would be gained by cancelling the Cragg Vale bus in the Evening. The current night service requires two buses - the replacement service also requires two buses as it takes 40 minutes to get to Blackshaw Head and back and more than 25 to get round Old Town.

I do wonder if the Cragg Vale Evening service will be re-instated after a "consultation period". This will make it look like the "consultation" is worth doing. Something similar happened in the 1960s when the Beeching report suggested closing the railway from Liverpool to Southport. As anyone who has been there will no it's extremely busy and it got a "reprieve". How amazing!

It does not say who is going to operate the additional Cragg Vale service - first or K Line. As someone who lives at Slack and works up Cragg Vale and uses the bus from rime to time to get to work if there are two different opperators it would increase the daily cost of that commute from £2.80 to £5.30, as I would then have to nuy a Metro Day ticket instead of a first day ticket.

The A, B and E routes are to get a Flexibus as now. Is it going to continue to serve Blackshawhead at all? If so on what days?

No mention has been made of the 906 summer only service. Is that going to continue? Will it be operated by Calderdale Community Transport or First. I have an issue with Calderdale Community Transport in that they did not issue day tickets (not even Metro ones!) on their buses. That made a round trip from Widdop Road to Midgehole £6!

Could the new smaller minibus operate a Midgehole Service too? It is further out than Eaves or Fairfield. I'm sure there would be time if it is only doing small journeys.

From Jenny B

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Metro survey does allow you to add your views which is useful.
However, it does ask how often you use the service too. In my case this is usually 5-6 days a week often 2-4 journeys.

During these journeys I can't fail to notice how little the bus service is used on some routes. Whilst we can all blame unreliability for the decreased usage, there are also many people 'shouting' for services to be maintained when they rarely if ever, use them.

Take the Cragg Vale route, facing a cut because it is barely used. However, J Hobday insists it should be there toootling up and down the valley empty using valuable fuel, as a 'right' for the residents.

As far as I am aware there is very little if any, social housing in Cragg Vale. The majority of its occupants are home owners of properties at the high end of the market. These residents in the majority, have car(s). One only has to pass through to see the number of parked cars outside homes.

Subsidies to bus companies have been reduced at national level and I dont think that the bus companies can reasonably be expected to provide a service for the few that feel they have a right to a service, as and when they may decide to leave their cars at home and use it.

Cragg Vale and Old Town are served by other services during the day. Which, and depending on reliability, allow people the access and exit of the villages that J Hobday demands as their right.

I for one, would be grateful for at least one bus an hour, providing that it ran to timetable, was tweaked a bit to fit in with school times and allowed a connection with the bus or train routes to Halifax, Todmorden and beyond. I see this as beneficial to me, not as my right.

From Roger N

Sunday, 9 December 2012

I think Jenny B is being slightly unfair about the bus service up Cragg Vale. Of course there is no point in subsidising a bus service if nobody uses it, but Metro's proposal to withdraw all evening services 'due to low levels of use' needs some examination. One of the reasons that the service is so poorly used is that would-be passengers have been let down so many times (particularly by the previous contract holders, Tyrer) that they've quite simply given up. How many times do you have to wait in adverse weather conditions for a bus that may or may not turn up? There's no real time information available about local Hebden Bridge buses, and all the Metro Helpline can do is tell you when the buses 'ought' to turn up. The only alternative is a taxi, which, from Hebden Bridge is well over £8 to the top of Cragg Vale, and that is simply not an option for many people, unless you're lucky enough to find a few people who will share a cab.

The bus proposals see Blackshaw Head retaining its hourly service until 10 pm , and then having a 'flexi bus service'. Likewise Old Town gets an hourly service until 11 pm followed by a flexi bus. Cragg Vale, which at present has an hourly evening/night service up to 11.10pm, will get nothing. Those without a car or the wherewithal to afford a taxi will quite simply be stranded after 6.30 pm. The last bus down the valley from Cragg Vale to Mytholmroyd will be even earlier than that.

And it gets worse. The daytime services will be run by the Huddersfield bus company, K Line. This means that people from or visiting Cragg Vale will no longer be able to use the go-anywhere all day Hebden Bridger ticket at £2.80, but will have to fork out £5.20 on a Metro Bus Day Rover (which is only valid after 9.30am - travel before that and you can't even use that ticket!)

Calderdale Council's motto is 'Everyone Different, Everyone Matters'. Everyone matters? Not if you live up Cragg Vale you don't!

From Dave R

Monday, 10 December 2012

Content: In part, I have to say I do agree with Jenny on this one.
Many of us who are up in arms do use the buses less frequently than others.

I for one, tend to use them more in the summer to get me to places I can enjoy walking. This does then include; Cragg Vale, Blackshawhead, Old Town and Crimsworth.

Many of these routes are sparsely used and yes, we can all blame the unreliability and lack of confidence in the service for this.

But, some routes have never been busy. Having spent lots of time chatting to drivers over the last few years, it is clear that they often run empty on the more remote routes. Cragg Vale being one of them. The village is not being left without a bus service per se. The barely used evening service is being dropped.

I would assume that Metro's decision is not based solely on useage figures for the past 12 months when unreliability has caused a drop in service users? If not, then it does need looking at in more detail. The Metro survey does allow you to have your say. But as always it will be a case of 'use it or lose it'.

From Cllr Janet Battye

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I know that these services are really important to a lot of local people and I'm doing my best to retain them - and, if possible and needed, to improve them.

First, we must make sure that, if they are needed, they are used!

But second, do look at the con sultation and respond. Metro seem to be trying to listen and play their part in sorting the problems out. They say that they are planning to get a smaller bus for the Nest estate/Fairfield and Eaves routes (that's good !) and to reinstate the alternate routes round Old Town/Dod Naze.

Just because a bus runs empty, that doesn't mean people are not using it.

I nearly always travel by car*. It is so much cheaper than the bus fare, if you ignore the fixed costs of having a car.

But I only have to ignore one lot of fixed costs for the car. I don't have to have a spare car just in case the usual one is unwell. If the car is not available, I can get on the bus.

I'm sure I'm not unusual in this, but it seems this aspect of bus "use" is being ignored.

For me, every day I don't travel on it, I still 'use' the bus as a standby and a way to free up traffic congestion and parking problems. And I'm perfectly happy to pay taxes to fund this use.

*OK, sometimes I go by bike, but not if it is raining!

From Iain Harrison

Monday, 17 December 2012

Just because a bus runs empty, that doesn't mean people are not using it.

I nearly always travel by car*. It is so much cheaper than the bus fare, if you ignore the fixed costs of having a car.

But I only have to ignore one lot of fixed costs for the car. I don't have to have a spare car just in case the usual one is unwell. If the car is not available, I can get on the bus.

I'm sure I'm not unusual in this, but it seems this aspect of bus "use" is being ignored.

For me, every day I don't travel on it, I still 'use' the bus as a standby and a way to free up traffic congestion and parking problems. And I'm perfectly happy to pay taxes to fund this use.

*OK, sometimes I go by bike, but not if it is raining!

From Darren G

Friday, 21 December 2012

We seem to be in an age of form writing, ticking and consultation. Is this age to make us feel like we are part of society, our views are important or do they even use them?

The services that have the problems are those that don't pay, make a profit for the private companies running the service.

They will come up with all sorts of obstructions to show why they can't run that service, and not one of their many have run true with me so far.. I agree more people should use the service but how can they when it's so unreliable.(one of the tricks to remove the service)

It's time for our councilors to stick their necks out and take the services back under their control. It can be a not for profit service, make it reliable and cheap enough to use and see if some of the traffic problems are eased. Maybe more people will shop locally? No need to drive around for 20 minutes looking for a parking place.
Private companies running public services offer terrible sevice but make plenty of profits

From Andy Grant

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Having just moved into the upper Birchcliffe area, and having followed the sorry saga of the Hebden Bridger bus services while house-hunting over the past year or so, I was amazed to see earlier today that the B service was still operating on the clockwise A service route, even though it was being operated by one of the original smaller buses which are able to negotiate the left turn at Mount Skip.

Why can't the white midi-buses be used on the C and D services to Cragg Vale and Mytholmroyd, thus releasing the remaining serviceable smaller buses to work the more difficult A and B services on their planned routes? It would appear that Birchcliffe and Dod Naze are needlessly still without direct buses from the town centre almost six months after the First Bus takeover. While my wife and I normally enjoy the vigorous exercise of the walk home up the hill, there are times, such as coming home from the station with heavy luggage on a wet and windy night, when it would be very useful to have the advertised bus service available and we pity the poor young mums struggling home to Dod Naze with kids, buggies and bags full of shopping.

Still, it's not all bad news - at least people's hard-earned cash is being diverted from an uncaring multi-national corporation into the coffers of our local taxi firms. Long live Totally Locally!

From Ben Plumpton

Monday, 7 January 2013

Just a reminder that Metro a running a consultation on their proposals for changes to the Hebden Bridge bus services. The consultation finishes on 18th January.

You can read the details of the proposals here.

and then you can follow the link to fill in an online survey. There's one one box for writing in your own personal comments, Q8 on the page of the survey headed "WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?", so make the most of it!


From Julie D

Thursday, 10 January 2013

One of the things it says on the consultation is about using bigger buses for busier routes like A and B. As a Mount Skip resident 9and this applies to Dodd Naze) i dont want this to happen. Frequently i turn up for a bus only to be told (latest time it happened yesterday on 14.58 service) it is terminating at Old Town as it is too big to do the turn.

If we had big buses all the time then this would become a more frequent excuse not to do the route properly.  They need to keep/get small buses.  I had to walk up again with loads of shopping, pram etc as the bus driver driving the bus i had waited for, told me another small one wouldnt be coming for another hour. If you feel the same as  me about that, put that in the consultation.

From Julie D

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Yesterday i turned up for the 15.58 B service to be told that yet again it would not be servicing where i live (near Dodd Naze) as "the white buses can't do the turn". The next one wouldn't be for another hour when it would be "a red one".

I cannot spend my day waiting at bus stops playing the bus lottery. I do not know when i go for a bus what colour it is going to be. How can i plan my day? Today 2 friends tried to visit me with their babies and were both told same thing. No bus service.

This is appalling. I have little faith anything will be done after all the times previously i have tried to resolve these issues through Metro, Janet Battye etc but i have contacted First again.

From Myra James

Thursday, 24 January 2013

For my sins, I am a public representative on the Passenger Consultative Committee. Julie, I have alerted Dave Pearson of Metro to your complaint. Because the review of minibus services removed Sunday and evening buses from Cragg Vale, any changes have been postponed to July/ August to allow time to reconsider this proposal.

I have asked Dave Pearson whether this means that passengers must expect the current poor service to continue for a further six months. I have also drawn his attention to the fact that the delay in introducing the changes means that long-suffering residents of Eaves have a further six months to wait for their restored service.

From Julie D

Friday, 25 January 2013

It was same again today. I went for the B bus. A large bus with no number/letter turned up and the driver told me "I am supposed to be a B but I am not going to Dodd Naze."

This was the 15.58 "service". I was told its because the red ones keep breaking down, First inherited rubbish buses from Tyrer etc....Its been months getting on for a year soon since First took over.

How much longer can this be used as an excuse? It really makes me want to move which is a shame cause i love where i live.

From Julie D

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Same again today 09.58am B service. Not servicing my route again. People in Old Town may not be bothered now it isn't affecting them (they used to do last year when it did affect them) but when they discreetly try and axe the service due to lack of use (cause people from Dodd Naze /Mount Skip have learned not to rely on it) then perhaps they will wish they had cared.

From Dave R

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Hi Julie
I don't think it is fair to say people in Old Town are 'not bothered' because they have a service. As a regular user of the A/B route, I too find it unreliable, whichever direction/route it may take. They still fail to turn up.

I also have to gripe about the ridiculous situation of the bus going via Crimsworth first. This is literally 5 minutes behind the 593 is a waste of time and fuel.

I find the A/B very under used, no doubt due to its unreliability, but hardly think Old Towners are sitting smug on this issue.

From Jenny B

Monday, 11 February 2013

Hi Julie
I am not a daily user of the A/B route but do use it to visit friends both Old Town and Doddnaze.

It is very frustrating to get on the bus and not be told it isn't doing a full route, so you get to Old Town and the driver says thats it!

I suppose as a regular user you know by the bus type which will go round, or ask, but it would help if the drivers rather than snipely telling you that it says Old Town not Doddnaze on the front is not helpful.

One bonus though, if I want to go to Old Town I pay to Doddnaze at 80 per journey less, I then get off in Old Town!!! If we all did that they would get the routes sorted smartish I bet.

And Dave, yes it is incredibly wasteful to run two buses to Crimsworth within 5 minutes. Very ungreen of Metro.

From Andrew B

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

This letter has been posted on the Dodd Naze Community Centre facebook page;

Following ... correspondence yesterday, I have been giving some more thought to this problem.

What was initially an interim solution pending the reinstatement of the service when the buses were back on the road has gone on for months. ... residents of Dodd Naze are understandably frustrated. Waiting until late summer to introduce the long term arrangements we are proposing is untenable.

There are no vehicles for hire which can go around the routes unless we scale down to van sized buses which are not big enough for the busier journeys on A/B and E routes. The turn at Mount Skip is the problem. The turn at the foot of Birchcliffe is OK in one direction.

The interim arrangement has gone on so long we must formalise it with a registration and update the bus stops, timetables etc. However this action my provoke further criticism.

Another option would be to alter the A/B routes as follows
Hourly service between the station and the town to Dodd Naze only via Birchcliffe Road.
Hourly service Hebden Bridge (station and town) – Pecket Well- Crimsworth – Old Town – Hebden Bridge. This is in effect the 593 route and would run approximately on the opposite half hour from town to 593.

Under this proposal everyone has a direct bus into Hebden Bridge. Dodd Naze residents no longer get dragged all around the loop.

The downside would be anyone seeking to travel between Old Town and Dodd Naze would have to travel via the town centre. Also Wadsworth Lane (beyond Dodd Naze), Height Road, Mount Skip and Nook Lane would not be served.

Before I discuss this with First I would welcome your views, please feel free to canvass Mr Boardman and other local residents if you see fit.
Dave Pearson

Assistant Director Transport Services


40-50 Wellington Street


LS1 2DE"


Can I suggest anyone with any comments on this e-mails Dave Pearson on dave.pearson@wypte.gov.uk

It seems to me that this is a good resolution if it is what it says on the tin and the timings are half decent! I have asked Dave what the plans would be for evening and Sunday journeys where there is only 1 bus an hour.

See also:

HebWeb News: Hebden Bridge Bus Services Consultation, over proposed changes from April 2013

HebWeb Forum: Hebden Bridger bus problems again! (February-September 2012 - 139 messages)